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I dove back down Hotline Miami‘s blood-slick Slip ‘n’ Slide of utterly blissful brutality this weekend, and now it’s all I can think about. It’s a testament to the sheer refinement of its systems, I think, that it can so thoroughly hook me time and time again. But nothing is perfect – not even when it’s really, really close>. So Cactus and co are charging forward with a full-blown sequel. Will there be more breeds of dog? More types of dudes with cat-like shotgunning-your-face-off reflexes? Cats? Um, well, no one’s really sure yet. Oh, but it will have music! This has been – as we say in nigh-impenetrable videogame parlance – confirmed.
It's almost Thanksgiving break, which means that a lot of you will be doing some traveling. And what better time to listen to delightful music than when on a plane or in the car?
The game music bundle has got you covered, with a typically great collection of soundtracks all available for as little as you want to pay. For just a buck, you can get the delightful sounds of Spelunky (though sometime we'll have to chat about that out-of-tune sax), the retro beats of Retro City Rampage, Disasterpiece's chicken pickin Shoot Many Robots soundtrack, the mournful music of Dear Esther, and Jim Guthrie's beautiful soundtrack to Indie Game: The Movie.
Go up to ten bucks, and you'll get a bunch more good stuff, including "Adventures in Pixels," and a grip of tunes from Hotline Miami, a game that easily has one of the very best game soundtracks of the year.
Good music, a good deal, and a good way to support video game composers. What's not to like?
Game Music Bundle [Official Site]
Hotline Miami now allows players to throttle their flatmates with controller cords. Either that or it’s actually possible to play the game with a controller but that seems unlikely. That’s not the only fix/addition that the update brings and there’s also a native Mac version in the works. Important additions: new environmental graphics, a bonus stage unlocked when the campaign is finished, “more gore with the Jones mask” and “the pot of boiling water has been updated”. We should compile a ‘patch note of the year’ list just so that the pot of boiling water can win some sort of trophy. The update should already be live on Steam.
I could write lots and lots of words about the super-cool, super-violent new PC game Hotline Miami. In fact, I've already kinda done that.
The game is: Awesome. You should: Play it. But if you're still unsure what it's all about, check out this playthrough of the first level, uploaded by JereHakala. This guy/gal is waaaay better at the game than I am, but that makes it pretty fun to watch just how quickly and crazily a level can go down.
Also, go listen to the whole soundtrack, because it is killer.
Part of me objects to the very concept of expanding Hotline Miami – “IT IS A PURE AND PERFECT SHINING DIAMOND OF FLOW, CONTROL, MOOD AND BRUTALITY LEAVE IT ALONE” – but most of me just wants to play some more Hotline Miami. Devs Dennaton have quietly revealed that DLC for the game of fluid murder is in the works, as well as ongoing patching for the buggy old dear, proper joypad* support and more “secret” things. (more…)
Earlier this week, Hotline Miami released and very quickly became the indie flavor of the minute. Then the story emerged that the game's maker went into the forums at The Pirate Bay, home of, well, pirates, and provided technical support to people who were, technically, stealing the game.
Naturally, Jonatan Soderstrom reaped some goodwill for this stance. It's an extremely sympathetic position in which to find yourself, large-size developer or small. For starters, you haven't done anything wrong, someone is taking your hard work and refusing to pay for it. Two, you get major props from pirate sympathizers, some of whom may actually act on the principle of paying for a game if they play a pirated version and like it. Three, you're not punishing the anti-piracy contingent, who may loathe the practice, but loathe DRM even more.
Soderstrom is by no means the first one to discover this. McPixel's creator was the latest high profile case of a developer embracing piracy and picking up an enormous PR boost for it—and even more: sales from the pirates themselves. After McPixel showed up on The Pirate Bay, Mikolaj 'Sos' Kaminski said "no biggie," on Reddit, expanded on that with some enlightened views of piracy, and tossed in some free codes for the game. The Pirate Bay responded by, wait for it, holding an event where they asked people to actually pay money for a video game (after downloading the full version anyway). [Update: Here's another example, from the creator of Mark of the Ninja, in an interview on Thursday.]
It's an almost unassailable position to be in (and, argumentatively, shows the power of not considering yourself a victim). Gamers love it because, technically, they're sacrificing sales not to inconvenience legitimate customers. Pirates love it because they don't consider it a lost sale. I'm not sure big publishers or their lobbyists love it, but anyone who comes out to rip an indie developer over his policies on his own product is going to look like a corporate dick of the first magnitude.
So what do you think? Is this an effective strategy for all? An effective strategy for some? Is it Stockholm Syndrome with digital hostages? In the past, the cynic in me would dismiss it as a shrewd PR move. (Though Gabe Newell at Valve proffered a compelling argument about why it's a service issue.)
Whether this policy of engagement actually works on its own is one issue. But I think it's clear it works better than DRM. If you can find anyone applauding that, let me know. But the contrast is clear; instead of trying to recover a lost sale, they're trying to make up for it with new ones, and keep legitimate customers happy.